American media have reported that Director Burns of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) will soon visit France and hold talks with high-ranking officials from Qatar, Egypt, and Israel, who are acting as intermediaries, in order to free hostages held by the Islamic organization Hamas. Ta.

However, it remains unclear whether negotiations between Israel and Hamas will progress.

*We will keep you updated on developments regarding Israel and Palestine as of February 22, Japan time.

US media “CIA director to hold talks with senior Israeli officials in France”

On the 21st, the American news site Axios reported, citing Israeli government officials, that on the 23rd of this month, CIA Director Burns visited Paris, France, and high-ranking officials from Qatar, Egypt, and Israel will mediate for the release of the hostages. I told them I would discuss it with them.

In addition, multiple Biden administration officials have said that they hope to conclude negotiations between Israel and Hamas and achieve a cessation of fighting by the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, which begins around the 10th of next month.

Meanwhile, former Defense Minister Gantz, who is in Israel's wartime cabinet, expressed a positive outlook on the progress of negotiations, saying on the 21st, ``There are early signs of progress.''

He simply said, ``If a new deal is not reached, we will continue the operation during Ramadan,'' hinting once again that if the hostages are not released by Ramadan, we will launch a ground operation into Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Did.

Regarding negotiations, there remains a wide gap between Israel and Hamas over issues such as the duration of the cessation of fighting and the number of Palestinians to be released from Israeli prisons, and it remains unclear whether the negotiations will make any progress.

Israeli military launches air strikes on Rafah and other areas, causing endless civilian casualties

The Israeli military continues to carry out airstrikes on the 21st in Rafah and other areas in the southern Gaza Strip, which are believed to be the last strongholds of the Islamic organization Hamas, and the number of civilian casualties continues.

As the Israeli military prepares to carry out ground operations against Rafah, there are concerns that the damage will further spread.

The Israeli military announced on the 21st that it had stepped up operations in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, and ground forces had killed dozens of Hamas fighters.

In addition, according to local Palestinian media, in the southern city of Rafah, where Israeli military airstrikes continue on a daily basis, airstrikes continued on the 21st, resulting in deaths and injuries.

Gaza health authorities said on the 21st that 118 people were killed in Israeli attacks in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 29,313.

Footage taken in Rafah on the 21st shows people taking out household goods from homes that were severely destroyed in the airstrike, with one resident saying, ``Everyone has evacuated to Rafah, but here we are.'' There is no safe place.''

The Israeli military remains prepared to carry out ground operations in Rafah, as it is Hamas's last stronghold, but there are concerns that nearly 1.5 million people live in Rafah, and the damage, including the casualties of residents, will further spread. It has been.